The Scottish Council of Independent Schools

LORETTO SCHOOLThe Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) promotes choice, diversity and excellence in Scottish education. Its role is to represent and promote over 70 member schools, which together educate over 30,000 children and young people from diverse abilities and backgrounds

SCIS promotes choice, diversity and excellence in Scottish education. Its role is to represent and promote over 70 member schools, which together educate over 31,000 children and young people from diverse backgrounds.

Choice, diversity, excellence

Independent schools in Scotland offer you the choice of small and large day schools, boarding schools, co-educational and single-sex schools. As a group independent schools draw students from all sections of the community, and students who attend independent schools are as diverse as the schools themselves.

As well as mainstream schools, there are also a number of special schools for young people with additional support needs. Every school has its own distinctive ethos, but all share the common goal of enabling each individual pupil to be all they can be.

Safeguarding and promoting the health and wellbeing of children is central to the ethos of all independent schools in Scotland. Class sizes and positive pastoral care all contribute to a caring, nurturing environment.

All schools in Scotland both state and independent are inspected by Inspectors from Education Scotland. Schools with boarding are also inspected by the Care Inspectorate. All schools in membership of SCIS are registered with the Registrar of Independent Schools, who is an official of the Scottish Government.

Academic curriculum in Scotland

Independent schools in Scotland have a strong tradition of academic attainment, reflected in pupils’ performance in public exams. Students have a choice of three different curricula and qualifications – English, Scottish or International Baccalaureate – although all lead to internationally recognised qualifications and equip students for university entrance and life beyond school. Most boarding schools in Scotland offer the English curriculum – AS and A levels.

Strathallan School Boarding HouseBoarding in Scotland

Scotland’s boarding schools welcome students from all over the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. All 18 boarding schools in Scotland are situated in safe, spacious and idyllic surroundings – from large city boarding schools to smaller rural locations, there is something for everyone.

The schools are well serviced by two international airports in Edinburgh and Glasgow and regional airports in Aberdeen and Inverness. Both Edinburgh and Glasgow airports have direct flights from around 90 destinations worldwide. Alternatively, convenient one-hour transfers are available from London’s Heathrow and Amsterdam’s Schiphol. For further information on Scotland’s boarding schools visit

Supporting the teaching profession

A strong advocate of teaching as a profession, SCIS encourages young people to develop their careers as teachers. SCIS is represented on the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), which enables the independent sector to play a role in maintaining professional standards. Often regarded as the jewel in its crown, SCIS organises a programme of continuing professional development for member schools, with conferences, seminars and workshops for teaching and support staff. All schools in membership of SCIS provide post-qualifying, induction-year training for student teachers.

Northbourne_Park_School_ScienceHelp and advice for parents

Staff at SCIS can provide prospective families with supportive, relevant and high-quality advice, information and guidance about the choice of independent schools in Scotland. Advice is also provided about entrance procedures, curriculum and qualifications, boarding, support for learning and applying for financial assistance. Each year SCIS publishes comprehensive statistical data which provides information on the independent school sector in Scotland such as pupil numbers and exam results. Visit our website for full details of services and training provided:

For information about independent schools in Scotland, please contact: SCIS, 61 Dublin Street, Edinburgh EH3 6NL, Scotland; Tel: +44 (0)131 556 2316; E-mail:; Web: